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The Mourning Virgin Mary
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The Mourning Virgin Mary

Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This beautiful panel, one of the oldest Italian paintings in America, is a fragment from the left side, or apron, of a large painted crucifix. With one hand touching her cheek in a tender expression of sorrow, the Virgin points to her left (towards to the now-missing central panel) with her other hand. Her gesture was originally directed towards Christ's wound, the source of her grief. The rippling drapery and elegant contours of the Virgin's body are derived from Byzantine icons. Created before painting on wooden panels was widely practiced, this is a rare example of an early Italian painting executed on parchment (prepared animal skin, generally used for manuscripts) applied to a wooden panel. This fact, together with the artist's remarkable control of line and expressive gesture, suggest that he also worked as a manuscript illuminator.
  • An Exhibition of the Treasures of The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton; Pace Wildenstein Gallery, New York. 1967.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, prior to 1897 [1881 catalogue: no. 5; 1897 catalogue: no. 12 as Margaritone d'Arezzo]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] S[ANC]TA M; [Transcription] Inscribed on the rectangular strip near the Virgin's feet: S[C]A M[ARIA].
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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ca. 1180-1190 (Medieval)
tempera paint gold on parchment mounted on wood panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 35 1/16 x W: 11 7/16 x D: 2 5/16 in. (89 x 29 x 5.8 cm); Painted surface H: 33 1/4 x W: 9 5/8 in. (84.5 x 24.5 cm); Original panel max. H: 33 3/4 x W: 10 1/4 x D: 1 11/16 in. (85.8 x 26 x 4.3 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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